BIG SECOND QUARTER CHANGES MOMENTUM.
A scrappy start was redeemed by Central District with a scintillating six-goal second quarter, which set up its SANFL round eleven 18-point victory over West Adelaide at Elizabeth.
There were plenty of worrying signs in the first 10 minutes of the opening quarter, as the Bulldogs dominated play but only managed three behinds.
West Adelaide then took control, as it started winning the ball out of the middle more and finding targets, and had the next five scoring shots – fortunately for the home side only one was accurate.
Then after another Central point, the Bloods managed a second major close to the end of the first term, to grab a 2.4 to 0.4 advantage at the first break.
A brilliant snap, from a crowded pack by Fraser Fort, four minutes into the second quarter brought up the Dogs’ first major of the game, which was quickly followed by a pair of goals by Nick Gillard – one after a fortunate bounce the other a clever snap – for the lead.
Westies managed a couple of behinds – the northern end was being starved of goals! – before two Central points was followed by Gillard’s third goal of the period.
Shortly into time on the Bloods managed a major to close within a kick, but Aiden Grace, after missing a simple shot straight in front, converted the goal of the game two minute’s later from 45 metres out on a 45-degree angle.
Then after the half time siren had sounded, Chris Olsson made the most of a free kick and 25m penalty to give Central a 6.7 to 3.7 lead at the long break.
Last time these sides met, in round four at Richmond, the Bulldogs held a lead at half time, but failed to score a goal in the second half in going down, after six consecutive behinds to open the third term.
But this time was different, as Central went on the early attack – the same as at Richmond – but this time managed a couple of goals – Gillard’s fourth and fifth of the game – to go out to a 32-point lead at the 12-minute mark.
It was then Westies turn to do the attacking, and kicked the next three majors to close the gap to two goals, with Kyle Presbury’s wonderful snap against the run of play enabling the Doggies to lead by 18-points at lemons.
With an early goal in the final stanza the Bloods looked ominous, but the Central players held their collective nerve and managed to hold West out the rest of the way, with a late goal to Harry Grant sealing the deal for the Dogs, in a 10.10 to 7.10 victory.
With Justin Hoskin out, it put pressure on the likes of Presbury and the Schiller boys, Jarrod and Trav, who all responded with good games, while surprise packet Gillard – given a promotion from the twos – filled Hoskin’s shoes to perfection with five telling goals.
The rebounding work of the defense, led by Matt Neagle and Dylan Weaver was crucial, while Fort was an able foil up front for Grace and Ethan East, in creating options going forward.
This Saturday the Bulldogs travel to the Parade to take on Norwood.
Goals: Gillard 5, Fort, Grace, Olsson, Presbury, Grant 1.
Best: Presbury, Gillard, M. Neagle, Weaver, T. Schiller, J. Schiller.
By Robert Laidlaw